by Eben Griger

Non-Americans looking to enter the United States may be handing over their social media passwords to US officials at the border, because the Department of Homeland Security is planning to actively monitor yet another aspect of their lives.

Taking a step back for context, here are some processes the DHS have introduced in recent years leading up to taking social media passwords.

2015: DHS adds social media to the visa process, under an optional step*

2016: DHS submits plans to access visa applicants social media posts

2017: DHS now wants access to social media posts and passwords and all accounts used in the past five years.

As invasive as some may find these procedures, they all used to end once immigrants become American Citizens. This will no longer be the case. In the main amendment to the previous rules, the end-date on monitoring has been removed entirely. With the new bill, the DHS starts collecting “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results,” applicable to all immigrants, both permanent residents and naturalized citizens.

This new system goes into effect Oct 18, 2017. Until then, the DHS is open to public comments on the matter.

Sources: Engadget (2015), Engadget (2016), Engadget, Engadget, Engadget, DHS

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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